DECATUR — Decatur-Macon County Opportunities Corp. will receive $2.59 million as part of $90.9 million federal grant for Head Start and Early Head Start programs across Illinois.
The news was announced Monday afternoon through a joint press release from U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, both Democrats from Illinois.
“This federal funding helps ensure that children throughout Illinois have the strong educational foundation they need to succeed from elementary school to college and beyond,” Durbin said in the release.
Its Head Start program, started in 1965, provides comprehensive child development program for children ages three to five in low-income households. That can mean DMCOC will provide everything from healthy and nutritional meals for children, to working with families to make sure the children are up-to-date on medical services.
“It’s different from your typical pre-K or daycare,” Murray said. “Because it is really comprehensive where we support the entire family along with the family to make sure the child is ready for kindergarten.”
The Head Start program was founded by President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 17, 1965, to promote school readiness for low-income children from birth to 5 years old.
The majority of the $90.9 million will go to groups in Chicago. Other programs that received money includes the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Joliet, Riverbend Head Start and Family Services in Alton, Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council in Steeleville, Southern Seven Health Department in Ullin and B.C.M.W. Community Services, Inc. in Centralia.
“When we invest in childhood education and parental support services, we help provide children with the tools they need to succeed both in and outside of the classroom,” Duckworth said in the release.
“For 53 years, The Head Start program has been critical in ensuring that every child, no matter where they come from, has those essential resources they need to thrive in their academic future,” she added.
Contact Ryan Voyles at (217) 421-7985. Follow him on Twitter: @RVVoyles